Managers Alex McLeish and Andre Villas-Boas have said Manchester City's latest round of spending means they will now be expected to win the title.
That is a goal that the club has fought shy of making specific since its takeover by Abu Dhabi United. Last season, Roberto Mancini said his target was to win a trophy and qualify for the Champions League, goals his team achieved comfortably.
However, McLeish said that the signing of striker Sergio Aguero for £38m means that the pressure would be on City to deliver a first championship since 1968. "It is phenomenal, it is amazing the parameters that have now been set," said the Aston Villa manager, who will lead his side against Chelsea in today's final of the Barclays Asia Trophy here.
"You just can't compete. You would expect Manchester City would be under pressure to win the league because of the spending power they have. There are five or six clubs that have also been spending hard."
McLeish pointed out that the way Uruguay won the Copa America, a competition that was expected to be dominated by Brazil and Aguero's Argentina, gave clubs like Aston Villa some hope. "We have to establish a will to win, which the players will be prepared to show in every game of the season from the first whistle to the last. A lot of teams will be prepared to think along those lines as well.
"We have to believe we can cause teams problems. Look at Uruguay, winning the Copa America and in doing so they spoke of the spirit within the squad. We have to harness that same kind of spirit."
Curiously, compared to last summer in which they spent £130m, Manchester City's spending this year has been relatively restricted, with just Gaël Clichy and Aguero arriving at the rebranded Etihad Stadium. However, Villas-Boas, who thus far has been restrained in the transfer market, said it was clear City are now geared to win the title.
"It seems pretty clear they are building a squad to threaten for the title. They are making good signings and they can challenge for the league now. Aguero will do well," said the Chelsea manager, who thought that Aguero's two-year-old son, Benjamin, might be worth investing in. "He is the grandson of Diego Maradona and Aguero's son, so he will be a good prospect."
As someone who played for Real Madrid when the galactico project was at its height, Michel Salgado argued that the one thing City could not offer was the sense of European history to be found in the Bernabeu and other stadiums.
"They now need to win trophies as quickly as possible," said the Blackburn Rovers defender. "They have got money but the history of Real Madrid is different... they have such a great past. They have been the best team in the world over the last century. If you ask a player to sign for Real Madrid or for Manchester City, it is a different question."Reuse content